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The Einstein File: J. Edgar Hoover's Secret War Against the World's Most Famous Scientist

Jerome, Fred

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ISBN 10: 0312288565 / ISBN 13: 9780312288563
Published by St Martins Pr, Gordonsville, Virginia, U.S.A., 2002
Used Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Shire Book Shop (Franklin, MA, U.S.A.)

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Einstein File: J. Edgar Hoover's Secret ...

Publisher: St Martins Pr, Gordonsville, Virginia, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Edition: 1st

About this title

Synopsis:

From the moment of Einstein's arrival in the U.S. in l933 until his death in l955, J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, with help from several other federal agencies, busied itself collecting "derogatory information" in an effort to undermine Einstein's influence and destroy his prestige. For the first time Fred Jerome tells the story of that anti-Einstein campaign, as well as the story behind it--why and how the campaign originated, and thereby provides the first detailed picture of Einstein's little known political activism.

Unlike the popular image of Einstein as an absent-minded, head-in-the-clouds genius, the man was in fact intensely politically active and felt it was his duty to use his world-wide fame shrewdly in the cause of social justice. A passionate pacifist, socialist, internationalist and outspoken critic of racism (Einstein considered racism America's "worst disease"), and personal friend of Paul Robeson and W.E.B. DuBois, Einstein used his immense prestige to denounce McCarthy at the height of his power, publicly urging witnesses to refuse to testify before HUAC.

The story that emerges not only reveals a little known aspect of Einstein's character, but underscores the dangers that can arise, to threaten the American Republic and the rule of law, in times of obsession with national security.

Review:

From 1933 until 1955, the Federal Bureau of Investigation compiled a 2,000-page file on Albert Einstein, hoping to "destroy" his immense stature by linking him to Soviet espionage activities. At one point, not long before the scientist's death, a serious attempt was made to have him deported. This alarming campaign--responsible in large part for Einstein's exclusion from the Manhattan Project--is the subject of Fred Jerome's The Einstein File. Einstein's disloyalty, in the FBI's view, was clearly evidenced by his adamant political stances. He was a socialist, a pacifist (though he advocated war with Germany), and an outspoken foe of McCarthyism, nuclear war, and racism. Jerome's skillful narrative weaves the file's hateful (and often ludicrously inaccurate) entries with American political history, creating an invaluable context for both Einstein's views and the FBI's actions. Further, Jerome points to the more recent "sanitizing" of Einstein, from angry activist to "genial, absent-minded professor." This is a fascinating, compelling tale, one that reads like the strangest of fictions. --H. O'Billovich

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